Sunday, July 30, 2017

Turning Vintage Dresden blocks into a Quilt

Last fall I was at a little craft bazaar just down the road from my house.  I found these fantastic vintage dresden blocks all hand appliquéd onto muslin.

I've had a love affair with 30's fabrics AND dresden blocks for just about as long as I can remember and to find both of them was like the biggest score I have found in my quilting/sewing experience.

I think I got all 24 blocks for $40!  They all measure at least 13" square.  I could tell they had all been sewn together at some point because there was still the ripped out threads around the edges.

It had never been in a finished quilt I don't think because the blocks were all in such good shape.  There is only one block with a small brown stain that won't come out but I think I can appliqué either another piece of muslin over it or get creative with a patch of some sort.

I threw them all in the washing machine.  You could tell they had not ever been washed and I figured if they all disintegrated no big loss.  They came out great..No stitches lost!  I let them air dry because I was a little afraid that with the muslin it would shrink too much and make the dresedens too puckery.  Even with the air drying there was quite a bit of shrinkage.  This will definitely be a good quilt to tie and not quilt...or maybe a combination with a tie in the middle of the dresden and quilting in between the blocks.

I'm finally feeling the motivation to tackle putting it all together.  Until now I was really just happy to pull them out occasionally, pet them and look at each block.  I was feeling a little stumped as to how to put them together..with what sashing or maybe not even sashing at all.  I decided to add sashing though only because then it would make it big enough for my queen bed.  For the longest time I picked out a yellow for the sashing.  Yellow is so cheery and happy.  But then I sort of felt like that was a little too typical of what you normally see in a dresden or vintage quilt.

Then I pulled out a sea green and I started to veer in that direction.  It felt so much better to me.  I dug through my other blues, greens an aquas and pulled out 4 colors that I thought would look good with each other and the dresden plates.  I kept coming back to that yellow though.  Do I incorporate that somehow?  I'm still not quite sure.  I do know that I want to surround the blocks with a log cabin style strips of alternating colors.  I think that will bring some modern-ness to it.  I'm toying with occasionally throwing in some yellow for contrast but I'm not feeling it 100%.

I need to make up some more of the aqua blocks first an see how it feels.  It's all about feeling for me.  I have to mull it over, pull out fabrics, sleep on it, wait a couple days.  Sometimes things just come right away and sometimes I need to give it more time.  I've come to give myself more time as I've grown in my quilting and sewing.  Maybe I can work with the yellow on the backing?


  1. I LOVE THESE!!! Dresdens are my favorite block and these are just fantastic!!! Just wondering how the yellow sashing would go with that gorgeous yellow and purple plate. The aqua looks good, too.

    1. That is a good idea! Maybe I will do that block in the yellow.